study, illustrated in Figure 6, mental disorders account for two thirds of all abortions in proprietary hospitals, which have the highest abortion ratio, and only one third in the ward services of municipal and voluntary hospitals, which have the lowest abortion ratio. These studies lead Lyon (120) to conclude that abortion for psychiatric reasons is the exclusive "luxury of the rich."*
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HYPERTENSION & I
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Figure 6. Medical reasons for therapeutic abortions by type of hospital, New York City, 1954-1962.
Source: (87, Table 9).
So long as the actual practice of abortion in American hospitals is inequitable, inconsistent, and largely extra-legal, we can expect a continually large number of abortions to be performed outside the legal hospitals.
Countries with Liberalized Abortion Laws
Among northern European countries, the liberalization of abortion laws began within the last few decades—first, Iceland in 1935; then Sweden in 1938; Denmark in 1939; Finland in 1950; and Norway in 1960. Further liberalization occurred in Sweden in 1946 and again in 1963; and in Denmark in 1956. Although the letter of the law differs from country to country, abortion is generally permitted for five indications: medical, medicosocial, sociornedical, eugenic, and humanitarian. By permission of the National
*Hall provides some interesting explanations of this double standard based on the type of patient, available resources, and patient-physician rapport in private and public practice (116).te). (See Table 16.) In a recent review of therapeutic abortion research, Lyon (120) observed that the "affluent woman is much more likely to be aborted than her indigent sister."